The adventure of this Machine Contest 2022 began for us with a meeting. We had not quite planned to take part in this edition, considering our large order book at the beginning of the year and the challenge of approaching a complete bike component. But this was without counting on Caroline, our pilot.
We are in March. We are looking forward to the Competition, Andreas having made our mouths water during the CDM21 by outlining the program. But after having done the last two editions, we feel almost greedy to want to dive back in. And then, between a full order book and a tense period for the supply of components, we say to ourselves that it is already too late, that we will take this year a little distance with this event which left us beautiful memories but also frustrations. And at the same time, it’s hard not to talk about it around us. The program is exciting, historic, and committed. So from time to time, we let the words flow, the desire is felt anyway.
Our workshop is located in a well-populated third location. A small world, where everything is known quite quickly. And in this small world is Caro, our future pilot, a carpenter architect by training. When she first hears this story about the contest, she is intrigued and thinks that it might interest people around her. Then, the more she thinks about it, the more she thinks “why not me?”
The current passes very quickly. For Caro, it all started when a friend offered to help her move by bike from Strasbourg to Montpellier. Not insignificant, enough to launch her practice of bikepacking which still seduces her today, where she learned to ride longer, faster, but still knows how to stop to contemplate. And the philosophy behind our artisanal approach, you don’t need to talk to her for very long, she practices it every day in her field.
So at the end of March, we signed up for the competition, our hearts already beating fast because we knew it was going to be sporty. 3 months later, the CDM22 has just ended, and we are very happy to present you in this article the Manivelle N°43 x CDM a little bit more in detail. Enjoy your reading!
Silvin and Thomas // Manivelle
The specifications defined for the Manivelle N°43 x CDM are a hybrid between the one given for the event and the one set up with Caroline in relation to her practice of ultradistance, the two CDC being quite close in the end. It was also important for us to challenge ourselves on the level of the difficulty of the realization, in particular by leaving for a truss fork with integrated stem, and by working internally a maximum of elements to be routed along the bike (brakes, gears, lighting). The search for lightness clearly guided the design of the bike, as well as the will to give life to a bike that performs well on a big day like the CDM22, but also on the long trips that Caroline is planning for the future. The vertical filtration was also worked on, to meet the specifications of the competition, and more broadly to meet the needs of Caroline, who regularly experienced pain on her long-distance practice.
Postural study and geometry
Caroline has been riding a Sobre Versatile for a few years. In terms of its position, several elements needed to be improved: the reach and the stack to be reviewed (back pain, numbness of the hands, pain in the knees), an overlap to be erased. As for the behavior, she also wanted a more nervous bike, better climber, while keeping the “positive inertia” on the flat and the stability of her current bike.
The geometry takes care of all these elements. The low offset of the fork is one of the particularities of this geometry. After having done long sections of riding with the CDM21 bike, a mountain bike with a large trail that greatly alleviates the work of the abdominal belt at high speed when the trajectory is disturbed by an obstacle, we wanted to give this bike a larger trail than usual on our ultra-distance road bikes, since it will also face gravel sections, but especially cobblestones! Less weight to put on the front to keep the trajectory, less numbness, less sheathing. And more energy to regain speed when leaving the sector!
The heart of this project. The specifications put a lot of emphasis on lightness, and we almost went with a carbon fork. But what about filtration? What is the point of presenting an industrial fork at a CDM?
We quickly switched to the idea of a Truss fork. Finally, the fork will also be a stem and a front rack. The whole thing coming out just under a kilo. An extra weight of only 120gr compared to an aluminium stem, carbon fork, stainless steel rack combo (compared to Columbus gravel, Ritchey comp stem, Nitto rack).
The lower sleeves are made of Zona seatstays, and the sleeves going up to the stem are made of 25cd4 constant thickness, 12mm. A small diameter allowing a flexion to take place, and providing a cushion to the stem, also made of 25cd4 D12mm. The fork has an internal passage for the brake, but also for the lighting, installed at the front of the rack. Three eyelets have been installed on the inner sheaths for the use of any cages when Caroline wishes to leave more loaded.
The frame is made of Columbus Life, and 25cd4 for the seatstays. A logical choice for a light and filtering frame. The particularities of the frame: the seatstays/seat tube/upper tube junction, the internal gear and brake routing, the revisited standard rear flatmount, a significant recess in all the junction areas between two tubes, the seat clamp. As on all our frames, the legs are homemade.
The internal integration of ducts and other cables is not limited to the fork. With a passage in the top tube (with D7mm inner tube) then in the seatstays for the rear brake and rear derailleur, in the down tube and left chainstay for the lighting. Initially, we also wanted to run the internal wiring through the pole. Finally, in order to limit the number of elbows that make gear changes less fluid, the integration is done from the junction between the sleeve and the upper tube. As for the lighting, whose wiring comes out of the fork at the level of the lower part of the pivot, it then runs in the down tube and then in the left chainstay to supply the rear lamp, installed on a custom made support that is fixed at the level of the rear brake.
Note: Our machine won the prize for the most beautiful cable passages.
Packaging, in collaboration with Copra Bikepacking
Two bags have been designed to equip Caroline during the Machine Contest: a front bag, intended to receive the different layers (warm, waterproof), the spare parts, the food, the small first aid kit; and a frame bag, for all the repair elements (puncture, spoking, transmission). The front bag is a hybrid between a model already made by Timothée (Copra) and our drawings. We wanted a bag that was easily accessible from behind the handlebars, and that took advantage of the geometry of the fork. The volumes, colors, materials, are all choices discussed with our pilot.
For the rest of the life of this bike, the luggage kit will be completed by a second framebag allowing to fully load the front triangle, and a rear bag similar to the front bag, which will be installed on a unirack.
The manufacture of the Manivelle No. 43 x CDM took about 60 hours (excluding conception). Started in mid-April, we wanted to finish the project before the end of April, to be able to make a first rough cut and give Caroline time to train on the bike. A very limited time of realization, specific to the Machine Contest, and which leaves room for a great effervescence in the workshop, where the evenings become longer.
We started with the most technical part, the fork. It was first worked as two separate elements. The stem, and the lower part of the fork, both checked on a template and then verified on a marble. The sheaths connecting these first two elements were then added and marked on a template. Finally, the rack was added to the structure, before the cords were made.
The complexity of realization for the frame resided in the work of internal passage at the level of the upper tube, and in its continuity with the seatstays. All the machining was done before starting to work on the jig, whereas usually we work on the front triangle first, then the rear triangle, in order to advance in parallel on the machining and welding operations. The objective is to ensure the continuity between the upper and lower tubes, but also to identify all the junction areas to be hollowed out.
The rear falt mount has been worked in a similar way to a front mount, so as not to cut into the left base and mechanically affect an area particularly subject to stress.
We’ve just come back from that. After 4 intense days, to present our realization, to take part in the particularly hard course to which our pilot Caroline will have held head with brilliance, to share our work during all the weekend, there is much to tell. We will do that in a future article, but what is sure is that our machine will have made a strong impression. We were awarded the prize for the best cable passage, but above all, the public placed us very high in their ranking, the jury shared their enthusiasm for our production, and most importantly, Caro had a lot of fun on her MANIVELLE N°43 ( to find in detail here )
See you soon for the story of this very special adventure!